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The 2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey found approximately 10% of high school students reported physical victimization and 10% reported sexual victimization from a dating partner in the 12 months* before they were surveyed. All too often these examples suggest that violence in a relationship is normal, but violence is never acceptable.

Dating abuse is a pattern of abusive behaviors -- usually a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time -- used to exert power and control over a dating partner.

This abuse/violence can take a number of forms: sexual assault, sexual harassment, threats, physical violence, verbal, mental, or emotional abuse, social sabotage, and stalking.

It can include psychological abuse, emotional blackmail, sexual abuse, physical abuse and psychological manipulation.

Dating violence crosses all racial, age, economic and social lines.

The Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness describes dating abuse as a "pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors used to maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner." Individuals of all walks of life can find themselves in an abusive relationship.

Meanwhile, victims of relationship abuse share many traits as well, including: physical signs of injury, missing time at work or school, slipping performance at work or school, changes in mood or personality, increased use of drugs or alcohol, and increasing isolation from friends and family.Dating abuse or dating violence is defined as the perpetration or threat of an act of violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within the context of dating or courtship.It is also when one partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through abuse/violence.Any young person can experience dating abuse or unhealthy relationship behaviors, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic standing, ethnicity, religion or culture.It does not discriminate and can happen to anyone in any relationship, whether it’s one that is casual and short-term or serious and monogamous.Dating violence is controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination.My people are from the world’s newest nation of South Sudan and we carry our culture everywhere we go.You may think that behaviors like calling you names or insisting on seeing you all the time are a "normal" part of relationships.But they can lead to more serious kinds of abuse, like hitting, stalking, or preventing you from using birth control.Abuse can occur regardless of the couple's age, race, income, or other demographic traits.There are, however, many traits that abusers and victims share in common.